Muscle Gain Plateau


I hope you can help me.

I am 37 years old, I weigh 195 lbs. I don't know my body fat percentage, I have a little bit of a gut.

I work out with weights at home four times a week. I do have access to a gym but I don't have a membership.

I've never attended a gym in my life.

I'd rather workout in the privacy of my home. Before I started working out I weighed 175 lbs, so far I've gained 20 lbs.

My goal is to reach between 230-240 lbs.

My problem right now is that I'm stuck at 195 and have been that way for maybe two months, maybe more.

To be honest, I'm a little frustrated. I'm trying to switch my workouts roughly every two weeks, when I get up to ten reps I add more weight and drop the reps down to eight or nine reps.

I do a split routine. I workout my legs, calves back, I don't do my lower back, forearms one day, rest one day then the next day do chest, shoulders, bis, tris, rest one day, then start the cycle over again.

I'm trying to watch my form so I don't cheat. I'm getting enough sleep during the week, on the weekends I admit my sleep is off, I stay up late.

I'm thinking maybe I'm not getting enough protein and carbs in a day. With that in mind I'm trying to eat more for breakfast, with lunch I have a protein bar, I'm trying to drink more water.

Roughly at 3pm I have another protein bar, I try to have a good supper. Before I go to bed I try to have some cottage cheese, milk, a salmon sandwich, food that's high in protein, carbs.

I hope you can help people in my position. If you need any additional information in regards to my workouts, or diet I would gladly supply it. I appreciate any help you can provide.

Answered By:

Mike Behnken, MS, CSCS ANswers the Fitness Question

Qualifications of Mike Behnken


There are Many Factors which can Contribute to a Training Plateau


Getting continuous body composition results is all about periodization. You must also follow a periodization model to drastically reduce the chance of plateau.

Your training sessions should have very high time under tension (volume). This means either more reps per set, or slower sets. Since your goal is hypertrophy or building the muscles larger, you should be lifting for high volume training sessions for the majority of the year.

When you start to plateau, you MUST take a week off. This is very important before transitioning to another cycle of different sets and reps, training split and volume. After your week off, your body will be ready to make more gains.

Make sure you read the pages about sets and reps, weight training volume, and training splits to understand fully.


Irregular sleeping patterns and not getting enough sleep is very bad for gaining mass. When you do not get enough sleep or stay up late at night your body releases the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is not completely understood but when your body releases it, during periods of high stress, the rate of muscle breakdown and fat gain is accelerated. This being said, make an effort to get regular sleeping patterns and you will benefit.



You mentioned you don't know your body fat percentage and you don't know whether you're getting enough carbs and protein during the day.body fat measurement accumeasure BUY NOW from amazon

Wouldn't it be a good idea to find out?  It is too easy to find out, and too important for the success of your training program to neglect.

Determining your body composition can be very easy and quick with an Accu-Measure skinfold. Even if your body composition is not important to you now, when you start gaining mass it will be important to know whether you are gaining muscle or fat.

Finding out how many calories you need is a matter of finding a calculator which does mathematical equations to estimate your caloric needs. Here is a caloric needs calculator to easily estimate your needs to put on muscle mass.

Building mass from 175 to 195 was significant and building 35-45 more pounds will take some serious training and serious amounts of calories.

Don't just concentrate on protein and carbs. Fat has important hormonal functions as well as provides 9 calories per gram. Make sure you spread out your meals evenly throughout the day. Cottage cheese is great before bed but don't forget your essential fats such as salmon.

If you aren't taking a multivitamin, definitely get a multiple vitamin which is dosed in multiple pills every day. Drink plenty of water. If your diet and training are spot on and you still are not getting the results you want check out the two ideas below.

Extra Carbohydrates from Maltodextrinmaltodextrin

Maltodextrin is a tasteless complex carbohydrate which is used in many meal replacements and other products as a filler carbohydrate. It is high energy and made immediately for your body to use rapidly. It is available in powders in stores for cheap as well as online.

You can add maltodextrin to your post-workout recovery or drinking water to increase your caloric intake as well as frequency of fueling your muscles with energy.

Maltodextrin is added to Iditarod sled dogs water to give them enough fuel to mush across the snowy tundra and it will help athletes keep their energy levels up as well as maintain a caloric surplus for people who want to gain muscle mass.


Increase your Dietary Fat Intakemuscle milk gain mass

Fat is more calorically dense than protein and carbohydrates and has twice the calories. You can maintain the caloric surplus needed to gain mass easier if your diet has about 30% of its calories as fat.

Remember all fats are not created equal. You should avoid high amounts of saturated animal fats. Stick to primarily unsaturated fats.

Muscle Milk is a great supplement for people of low body fat percentages who want to gain mass. Muscle milk contains healthy fats and Medium Chained Triglycerides (MCTs) which are most likely burned as energy rather than stored as body fat.

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